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Different responses of multifaceted plant diversities of alpine meadow and alpine steppe to nitrogen addition gradients on Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau

Li, Shuai, Dong, Shikui, Shen, Hao, Han, Yuhui, Zhang, Jing, Xu, Yudan, Gao, Xiaoxia, Yang, Mingyue, Li, Yu, Zhao, Zhenzhen, Liu, Shiliang, Zhou, Huakun, Dong, Quanming, Yeomans, Jane C.
The Science of the total environment 2019 v.688 pp. 1405-1412
alpine grasslands, alpine meadows, alpine plants, ecosystem services, ecosystems, eutrophication, functional diversity, nitrogen, phosphorus, phylogeny, soil, soil acidification, species diversity, steppes, taxonomy, China
Qinghai-Tibetan Plateau (QTP), >4000 m known as the “third pole of the earth” and is highly sensitive to nitrogen (N) deposition, understanding the effects of N deposition on multifaceted plant diversity (taxonomy diversity, functional diversity and phylogenetic diversity) in the alpine grasslands of Qinghai-Tibet Plateau are vital for the conservation of alpine plant diversity and the sustainability of alpine grasslands ecosystem services. We added N of different gradients to test the effects of soil acidification, soil eutrophication, and phosphorus limitation independently, and interactively on the multifaceted plant richness and evenness in both an alpine meadow and an alpine steppe of the QTP. We found that all the p-value of taxonomy diversity, functional diversity and phylogenetic diversity were >0.05 and values of R2 of fixed factors by nitrogen addition gradients was low (<0.10). In contrast to the alpine steppe, diversity of alpine meadow is more sensitive to soil factors than alpine steppe. Soil acidification caused by nitrogen deposition changed taxonomic evenness (p < 0.05), while eutrophication associated with nitrogen deposition altered taxonomic richness and phylogenetic evenness (p < 0.05) in the alpine meadow and functional richness (p < 0.05) in the alpine steppe. These findings suggest that the effects of N deposition on the multifaceted plant diversity (taxonomic, functional and phylogenetic diversity) varied with N deposition gradients and ecosystem types. Rational adaptation and mitigation techniques should be considered for different types of alpine grasslands on the QTP according to their different responses to the nitrogen deposition gradients in the future.